Rare Ship's Passport with Health Certificate for an American Ship Bound from Cadiz in Spain to Philadelphia.
by Naval Document, Cadiz
Condition: See description
Cadiz, 1791. Cadiz, 7 February, 1791. Official Health Certificate from Spain's naval authorities, completed in manuscript, signed in the original by 3 parties, certifies clearance for disembarkment and trade following inspection of an American vessel. Folio. Single leaf laid paper, printed recto only, measuring approximately 23 x 42 cm. Features large steel cut engraving. Text is in Spanish. Indication of moisture, otherwise very good condition, retaining a strong impression. Fascinating eighteenth century document from the Spanish Naval Court, signed on 7 February 1791, by an administrator of the Board of Health in Cadiz, issuing clearance to an American vessel named The Pilgrim, Captained by a John Smith, who was on a return voyage to colonial Philadelphia not long after the War of Independence. Following customary inspection for bubonic plague and other deadly diseases, Smith and his crew of six are free to enter port and trade goods, under certain restrictions, before heading to Philadelphia. Interestingly, they are specifically prohibited from trading slaves, as mentioned in the text. Captain John Smith was a Private, a trooper for the Royal Horse Guard Blues, a Cavalry Regiment of the British Army, before becoming a sea merchant. In 1784 Smith married Penelope Pitt (1749-1827), Viscountess Ligonier, daughter of the diplomatist and courtier George Pitt (1720-1803) of Stratfield Saye, Hampshire. Little else is known of him, though he may be a descendant of John Smith who emigrated to America in 1720, whose ancestry leads to John Smith born in 1655, County Monaghan, Ireland. This family Smith settled primarily in the Brandywine Settlement and the Lancaster County of Philadelphia. . Signed.
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